Pakistan keen to put fixing shadow behind

first_imgKeen to re-establish their reputation dented by the spot-fixing scandal, unpredictable Pakistan will look to launch their World Cup campaign on a rousing note when they take on minnows Kenya in Hambantota on Wednesday.Having suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ireland, which eventually resulted in their first round ouster the 2007 edition, Pakistan would be wary of taking their opponents lightly this time around. In fact, captain Shahid Afridi has already warned his team to take every opponent seriously.”There have been so many upsets in the World Cup in the past, like the one against Ireland four years ago. So we have that in mind and we will be on our toes in every match, be it Kenya or Sri Lanka,” said Afridi.Going into the match, Pakistan would take heart from their recent 3-2 one-day series victory over New Zealand in New Zealand just before the World Cup.And even though they had mixed fortunes in the their two warm-up games – a win against Bangladesh and a defeat against England, Pakistan are well aware that if they play as a unit, they have enough firepower to go a long distance in the tournament.Pakistan’s batting, consisting of the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, former captain Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, the Akmal brothers Kamran and Umar, has the reputation of creating quite a flutter in the opposition camp.In the absence of their banned opener Salman Butt, Pakistan would be banking on Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad in the opening slots, followed by the more experienced middle-order. Veteran Younis is expected to bring in stability with all his experience of playing international cricket, followed by Test skipper and in-form Misbah and the two Akmals.ND with captain Shahid Afridi and allrounder Abdul Razzaq coming down the order, Pakistan should not have any trouble blowing the Kenyans away in their opening match.As far as the bowling department is concerned, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul would be looking to go for the kill from the very first ball. This match will also give both the pacemen an opportunity to get back to their peak form.Even Saeed Ajmal would get a chance to experiment with his doosra before his team faces bigger names during the course of the tournament. Afridi’s fast wrist spin is also expected to come in handy against the African nation.Kenya, semi-finalists in 2003, Afridi not ready to take Kenya lightly in their opener at Hambantota suffered an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat against New Zealand in their opening match, would be keen to re-group against the Asian cricketing giants and pose a challenge.The Kenyans were bundled out for their lowest-ever World Cup total of 69 against New Zealand and the entire match was over in no time. Surely, the Kenyans will need to put up an improved show to be able to compete against the Pakistanis.They would be relying on their promising opener Seren Waters, who scored a century in their last warmup match against the Netherlands, to give them a good start.Their bowling unit has not performed too badly over the last few practice games they have played but the failure of their batsmen gave them little opportunity to make a mark. Nehemiah Odhiambo has performed consistently and has been well supported by Peter Ongondo and bowling all-rounder Thomas Odoyo.advertisement- With PTI inputslast_img